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Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

About one in eight women will get breast cancer more than ten percent of the population. While that might be a scary statistic, there are some things you can do to aid in breast cancer prevention.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Limiting your alcoholic intake can help to prevent breast cancer according to the Mayo Clinic. If you do decide to consume alcohol, women should limit themselves to no more than one drink per day whether they choose wine, beer, liquor or mixed drinks.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese will increase your risk of breast cancer and other serious health problems and diseases. When it comes to breast cancer, maintain a healthy weight is especially important after menopause, when your risk for developing breast cancer increases. Talk with your doctor about a healthy weight loss program if you have a significant amount of weight to lose. They may be able to help you develop an efficient and healthy diet and exercise routine.

Exercise Regularly

Regular physical exercise is necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight, which can in turn help to prevent breast cancer. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, about 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise like swimming is enough for most women. If you choose to do more vigorous exercises like running or cycling, 75 minutes may be enough. However, there’s certainly no need to limit the amount of exercise you get to just 150 or 75 minutes each week. Pick an aerobic exercise you enjoy so it will be easier to stick with your routine. Along with aerobic activity, strength training can be extremely beneficial for women. You don’t have to pick heavy weights or spend a lot of time lifting – even moderate intensity strength training about twice per week is helpful for women.

Eat Your Vegetables

When your parents told you eating your vegetables would keep you healthy, they were right. In fact, vegetables that contain carotenoids, a pigment found in fresh fruits and vegetables that have cancer fighting properties may help prevent breast cancer. The best fruits and vegetables to eat to get your carotenoids are carrots, spinach, tomatoes and watermelon, but many other fruits and vegetables are high in the cancer-preventative pigment as well. About 4 to 5 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables per day will suffice. If you can, eat raw vegetables and fruits instead of cooking them – cooking reduces the nutritional value of the food. If you don’t know how to work these fruits and vegetables into your diet, try making a salad for lunch or dinner with fresh baby spinach instead of traditional lettuce. Shredded carrots and chopped tomatoes also make a flavorful, healthy addition to any salad.

Out with the Bad, In with the Good

Polyunsaturated fats like corn and sunflower oil and saturated fats found in red meat, dairy foods like cream, cheese and butter and many prepared and packaged foods have been linked to the development of breast cancer. While you can’t avoid these foods completely in most cases, avoid large amounts of them is key for breast cancer prevention. For cooking, use olive oil or canola oil instead of corn oil, sunflower oil or butter. A study done of the course of six years in Sweden of more than 60,000 women between the ages of 40 and 76 determined that women who ate an additional 10 grams of monounsaturated fat reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by about 45 percent. On the other side, women hat increase their intake of polyunsaturated fat by just 5 grams increase their risk of developing breast cancer by almost 70 percent. In Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain and Italy, where olive oil consumption is very high, women in these areas are less likely to develop breast cancer than women in areas where more bad fats are consumed.

Stop Hormone Therapy

While hormone therapy can be beneficial for many women going through menopause, avoiding long term use is one of the best things you can do when it comes to breast cancer prevention. In recent years, a variety of pharmaceutical companies have started making other products that may help to relieve some of the symptoms associated with menopause without the added side effects. Talk to your doctor about your options if you’re considering hormone therapy or already using hormones. If you and your doctor decide that hormone therapy will be beneficial to you in the short-term, try to keep the dosage as low as possible to help prevent breast cancer.

Medline Plus: Breast Cancer


Mayo Clinic: Women’s Health: Breast Cancer Prevention: How to Reduce Your Risk


Ladies Home Journal: 10 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer


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